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Summary and book reviews of Red Notice by Bill Browder

Red Notice

A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice

by Bill Browder

Red Notice by Bill Browder X
Red Notice by Bill Browder
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 352 pages
    Oct 2015, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin's corruption.

Bill Browder's journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union's collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was investing, Vladimir Putin turned on him and, in 2005, had him expelled from Russia.

In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder's offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund's companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder's attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear.

Browder glimpsed the heart of darkness, and it transformed his life: he embarked on an unrelenting quest for justice in Sergei's name, exposing the towering cover-up that leads right up to Putin. A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world.

The G8

When the Russian government turns on you, it doesn't do so mildly— it does so with extreme prejudice. Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Yukos were prime examples. The punishment for presenting a challenge to Vladimir Putin went beyond Khodorkovsky to anybody who had had anything to do with him: his senior managers, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, and even his charities. By early 2006, ten people connected to Yukos were in jail in Russia, dozens more had fled the country, and tens of billions of dollars of assets had been seized by the Russian authorities. I took this as an object lesson, and I was not going to allow the Russians to do similar things to me. I needed to move my people, and my clients' money, out of Russia as quickly as possible.

I brought Hermitage's chief operating officer, Ivan Cherkasov, to London to help do these things. Ivan had joined Hermitage five years earlier from JP Morgan, and he was the one who hounded brokers, chased banks, and ...

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BookBrowse Review


High finance and politics may not be among many readers' first choices when making a non-fiction selection, so I do wonder what type of audience Red Notice will attract. I hope that it will bring people out of their comfort zones, though, as it's a compelling narrative that deserves a wide readership. It's accessible enough that people who generally prefer fiction will almost certainly find that it will keep them entertained, and the subject matter is important enough that it will likely resonate with those who prefer books about social issues...continued

Full Review (699 words).

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(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
It may be that "Russian stories never have happy endings," but Browder's account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin's thugocracy.

Library Journal
Rich characterizations and well-explained financial intrigue make this a compelling read.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [An] alternately harrowing and inspiring saga of appalling crime and undeserved punishment in the Wild East.

Author Blurb Tom Stoppard
The story of Sergei Magnitsky's life and death is a shocking true-life thriller, and Bill Browder was the man to write it.

Author Blurb Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators
This book reads like a thriller, but it's a true, important, and inspiring real story. Bill Browder is an amazing moral crusader, and his book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to understand Russia, Putin, or the challenges of doing business in the world today.

Author Blurb Senator John McCain
In Red Notice, Bill Browder tells the harrowing and inspiring story of how his fight for justice in Russia made him an unlikely international human rights leader and Vladimir Putin's number-one enemy. It is the book for anyone interested in understanding the culture of corruption and impunity in Putin's Russia today, and Browder's heroic example of how to fight back.

Author Blurb Bryan Burrough, co-author of Barbarians at the Gate and author of Public Enemies and The Big Rich
Browder's true story is a heart-in-your-throat page turner, and the only close-up look I know of what it's like to take on Putin. It is also a moving account of a man who found his calling, and ended up winning in the end.

Author Blurb Geoffrey Robertson, human rights lawyer and author of Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle For Global Justice
A fascinating, heart-stopping account of how to take on Putin -and win. It's exciting to read about Browder's roller-coaster ride to wealth in Russia, and to learn how his compassion for Sergei Magnitsky, his murdered lawyer, inspired his memorable struggle against the venal apparatchiks of a corrupt state.

Reader Reviews


I am not a news junkie; this story is new to me. I thought it was well written and well presented. And quite readable. And not full of political slant and opinions. The US-Russia relationship is so complicated. Who will ever know the truth? I will ...   Read More

Clinton Birchard

Red Notice
This book was cool.

Kelli Robinson

Hedge Fund Manager to Human Rights Activist
This is the story of one man's 25-year journey from Stanford Business School to ultra-successful hedge fund manager to human rights activist. This is also the story of one particularly brave Russian lawyer who made the ultimate sacrifice in his fight...   Read More


How to rape the wealth from the communist!
Step 1: go to a communist country and strip billions of dollars of their wealth created over centuries. Step 2: Sell up and leave before they get revenge the only way they know how. Step 3: Let someone else pay the price for the retaliation, ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Interpol and Red Notices

The title Red Notice refers to one of the many alerts issued by Interpol, the world's largest international police organization.

The idea of an international police force was originally proposed at the First International Criminal Police Congress in Monaco in 1914, although the organization didn't come into being until an initiative was passed in 1923 at the International Criminal Police Congress in Vienna. Formed as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) headquartered in Vienna, it fell under Nazi Germany's control in 1938 and was moved to Berlin in 1942. After World War II, ICPC was reformed as Interpol under the auspices of Belgium, and it was granted official status by the United Nations in 1949. (The name "Interpol,"...

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